Do Admitted Patients Held in the Emergency Department Impact the Throughput of Treat-and-release Patients?
Article first published online: 29 SEP 2008
© 1996 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Academic Emergency Medicine
Volume 3, Issue 12, pages 1113–1118, December 1996
How to Cite
Bazarian, J. J., Schneider, S. M., Newman, V. J. and Chodosh, J. (1996), Do Admitted Patients Held in the Emergency Department Impact the Throughput of Treat-and-release Patients?. Academic Emergency Medicine, 3: 1113–1118. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.1996.tb03370.x
- Issue published online: 29 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 29 SEP 2008
- Received: October 12, 1995: revision received: April 10, 1996; accepted: May 22. 1996; updated: August 5, 1996.
- patient admission;
- statistics and numerical data;
- emergency services;
- length of stay;
- throughput interval;
- observation unit
Objective: To examine the impact of reducing ED “boarders” (through the use of a short-stay inpatient medicine unit) on the amount of time that treat-and-release patients spend in the ED.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of hours spent in the ED was made at a university hospital teaching ED for treat-and-release patients in 4 clinical categories: chest pain, asthma exacerbation, sickle-cell crisis, and seizure. The average hours per patient spent in the ED during the 4-month intervals before (August-November 1993) and after (August-November 1994) the establishment of the short-stay medicine unit were compared. Data were analyzed using the 2-tailed, unpaired t-test.
Results: This short-stay inpatient medicine unit received on average 135 patients per month from the ED, with an average length of stay of 2.4 days. The mean (±SD) number of admitted patients per day waiting in the ED >8 hours for an inpatient bed dropped from 9.6 ± 4.2, before the institution of this unit, to 2.3 ± 2.6. There was a significant reduction in the average number of hours spent in the ED by treat-and-release patients with chest pain (from 7.3 ± 6.0 to 5.5 ± 4.8 hr/patient, p c 0.001) and asthma exacerbation (from 5.0 ± 3.6 to 4.2 ± 2.9 hdpatient, p < 0.05), but not with sickle-cell crisis or seizure, after the implementation of the short-stay unit.
Conclusion: Reducing the number of admitted patients waiting in the ED for inpatient beds, in this case by establishment of a short-stay medicine unit, is associated with a decrease in the interval that treat-and-release patients spend in the ED.